Trainee teachers massacre

Boko Haram extremists — their name means “Western education is forbidden” — killed 15 student teachers in Nigeria, blowing some into pieces and shooting others as they stormed a teacher training college last month.

More than 30 others were badly injured. The students were helpless against the onslaught: suicide bombers set off explosives in a packed lecture room and shot students who tried to escape.

“I ran, I crawled and walked for a long distance to get out of the school building. No one knew where they were and how many were there. It was hell. Everyone was running,” one young woman training to be a teacher at Kano’s Federal College of Education told Al Jazeera news.

Boko Haram has carried out bloody attacks on schools and symbols of modernity, with its leader, Abubakar Shekau, declaring, "I hate university" in reference to Western-styled schools.

About 220 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in May are still missing, with fears they have been sold into slavery. Following that attack, Australia decided to list Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation and AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos asked schoolchildren around this country to keep the incarcerated Nigerian schoolgirls in their thoughts as they marked Day of the African Child on June 16.

When 40 schoolboys were shot dead in their sleep at a boarding school by Boko Haram in February, Educational International (EI) condemned the “cowardly attack”.

“EI and the 30 million educators across the globe state once again that schools must be protected and must not be used as a target or for military ends,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. Quality education should be provided in a safe and secure environment, he added.